Colds, allergies, strep oh my! As parents, my guess is that you have seen it all. When your little one complains of a sore throat, you probably feel helpless and want them back to being a happy, healthy kid again. We also know how frustrating the not knowing can be, especially if you are dealing with something highly contagious as strep. Many parents unknowingly treat the wrong illness because they just want to be pro-active on getting their kids better, but even though symptoms can look the same for some kids, diagnosis and treatments are different. So, wouldn’t it be nice to know right off the bat if you are dealing with strep? An at-home strep test can help.
Fact 1: Streptococcus, AKA, strep throat for short, is one of the most common bacterial infections that most common in children between 5 - 15 years old, but anyone can get it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3 out of every 10 children with a sore throat actually tested positive for strep. That means the other 7 most likely have a viral illness, not bacterial, and antibiotics are unnecessary.
Fact 2: Adults can get strep, especially if your child has it. Babies can also get it. In fact, 24% of all children with strep are under 5 years old. That means the whole house can be on lockdown until antibiotics are given. Children and toddlers may experience symptoms of strep but are too young to verbalize what hurts.
Fact 3: Strep throat is highly contagious and spreads like peanut butter on white bread. It can be passed to others for up to three weeks and is usually transmitted through coughing, sneezing, or just by touching a contaminated surface. You can also get strep from sharing food or drinks with an infected person. If your child tests positive, they should not go to school until they have been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
Why All Parents Need At-Home Strep Tests
Before you rush out and spend hours in the doctor's office for what may be a sniffle, we suggest trying an at-home rapid strep test. A simple swab can be the first step in diagnosing the problem and can save valuable time, money, and crankiness. At-home strep throat tests are designed to analyze a throat swab to see if strep A bacteria are present and to distinguish strep throat from other causes of a sore throat.
Aside from convenience, the number one benefit of having an at-home strep test is that it tells you instantly if bacteria are present. If your child shows signs of strep, an at-home strep test will help prevent spreading it to others. If positive, antibiotics can be prescribed and called into your local pharmacy in under 30 minutes. Getting treatment at the onset of signs can help shorten the duration of symptoms and help prevent complications. If left untreated, strep can lead to rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, or other infections in the body. If no bacteria are present, then you can skip the antibiotics. Taking antibiotics when not needed can cause resistance, eventually making them ineffective. If the test is negative, chances are the sore throat is viral, caused by the common cold, flu, or just seasonal allergies. Along with rest, antibiotics, and a lot of fluids, your child should start feeling better in just a few days. All parents should keep at-home strep tests on hand just like they would Band-Aids or Tylenol for early detection and peace of mind.
How Checkable’s At-Home Strep Tests Work
Pending FDA clearance, Checkable's at-home strep test comes with everything needed to perform an at-home diagnosis to see if strep is positive or negative. Our platform includes the test kit and a digital application that trains home users on how to take a sample and interpret the results. A throat swab (just like at the doctor’s office) will be able to show if Group A bacteria are present. If the test is positive, you will be connected with a tele-medicine provider that can prescribe antibiotics and send them right to your local pharmacy in minutes. The kit consists of Strep Test, Swab, and Tongue Depressor, and instructions on how to connect and log on for the consultation.
No need to contact your doctor, pay for an office visit, or miss hours of work if not necessary.
While at-home strep tests are not usually covered by insurance, their relatively low cost per test is often less than copayments or deductibles. The tests are easy to perform, time-saving, and affordable. If your child gets sore throats often, at-home strep tests are the way to go.
When to Call the Doctor
If the at-home strep test didn’t show any presence of group A strep, there is a chance it could have been a false negative. Always consult with your pediatrician if:
- a sore throat lasts longer than two days
- a fever that’s higher than 101°F or lasts longer than two days
- a sore throat with tender or swollen lymph nodes
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- a sore throat with an accompanying rash
- a positive strep throat diagnosis with no improvement after two days of antibiotic treatment